Life Behind the Lobby
Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream
By Pawan Dhingra
(Stanford University Press, Paperback, 9780804778831, 264pp.)
Publication Date: April 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
This book examines how Indian American motel owners have created a successful immigrant business niche, yet still suffer significant social and cultural inequalities.
Pawan Dhingra is Associate Professor of Sociology at Oberlin College and Museum Curator (2011-2012) at the Smithsonian Institution.
"Pawan Dhingra has written a pioneering book on the world of American motels and hotels. Close attention to the stories told by the people who work in the trade allows Dhingra to go behind the stereotypes, and give us a tale of human beings struggling to make livings and lives. This is a people's sociology of hotel work."Vijay Prashad, Trinity College
"Life Behind the Lobby assesses a central debate about U.S. migration: should the achievements of self-employed migrants be regarded as evidence of the openness, tolerance, and meritocracy of an increasingly neoliberal American society, or should their sacrifices, confrontations with racism, and feelings of social marginalization be taken as proof of the enduring place of discrimination, inequality, and white privilege? Pawan Dhingra's sophisticated and highly original analysis does much to advance our understanding of international migration, ethnic entrepreneurship, and migrants' ability to work collectively to cope with, if not fully overcome, the circumstances they face."Steven J. Gold, Michigan State University, author of The Store in the Hood: A Century of Business and Conflict (2010)